Galloway and Collens, PLLC

Trusted legal representation
throughout Michigan

248-397-5507 | 888-349-0309

Existing clients call 248-545-2500

Main Navigation

Oakland County Probate & Estate Administration Law Blog

Include the right kind of power of attorney in your estate plan

There are many decisions to make when it comes to estate planning. Many may think a will is all that is needed. However, there are other documents and protections that may be needed to complete the estate plan of a Michigan resident.

One essential document is a durable power of attorney. This gives someone the power to make financial decisions on the behalf of someone who is unable to do so. Some may assume that they should give this authority to someone who is closest to them personally. However, if that person is not good at handling money, that could be a mistake. There should be a back-up person named, too, just in case the first person would become incapacitated or mentally unable to handle financial decisions.

Important factors for an estate plan in Michigan

The general topic of estate planning may be difficult for some to bring up or think much about. However, anyone who has any kind of assets may benefit from learning more about the process and what it entails, especially the important decisions that must be made. Anyone in Michigan who has not begun the process of putting together an estate plan may want to consider some of the following factors.

It is vital to understand the role of an executor when choosing one. An executor will have a tremendous amount of duties and it is best to prepare the person chosen ahead of time. The executor will have to handle paying debts of the estate, dealing with tax issues and also the actual distribution of assets left to beneficiaries.

Michigan residents may want to include pets in estate plan

When people sit down to decide what will become of their assets, they may think about bank accounts, homes, collectibles or even the fate of a family business. Many people already know that formulating a comprehensive estate plan is vital if there are kids involved. However, people in Michigan may not think ahead about what may become of their pets if something happens.

The fate of family pets is important because they are living creatures who need immediate attention and care. Unlike a car or home, a pet can't wait in limbo for months while decisions are held up in probate. Because of this fact, it is recommended that pet owners draft an immediate plan and even set aside funds to help secure the fate of beloved animals.

Reasons Michigan residents should prepare a will

People tend to put off anything related to estate planning, as it isn't a subject many younger people like to think about. Anyone in Michigan over the age of 18, especially anyone with children, may benefit by preparing and executing a will. Those over 18 may also gain by looking into other vital documents that are better to have and not need rather than not have and need.

When there are children involved, a will is a concrete and vital tool in making sure wishes are adhered to. Even if a couple or parent has an informal agreement about what family members may raise an orphaned minor, having it legally outlined is a must. Without a legal document in these circumstances, surviving family members could find themselves fighting over custody.

Paul Walker's estate plan protects daughter

The recent death of movie star Paul Walker highlighted the fact that tragedy can strike anyone at any time. The accident has also turned out to be a lesson in the importance of having an estate plan at any age. Walker's estate plan, in particular, ensured his only child would be taken care of in the event of his early death. Any Michigan parent may benefit from understanding how he handled his estate plan pertaining to his daughter.

The star was reportedly worth roughly $25 million. Instead of simply creating a will, he funded a trust. This trust cites his only child, a daughter, as the sole beneficiary. Because a trust can be private, as opposed to a will, the details of how he wanted his assets distributed to his daughter can remain private information.

Should an estate be passed through a trust or a will?

Especially for a wealthy Michigan family, it can be difficult to know how to pass wealth along to the next generation and if it should be done through a will or a trust. Estate planning is a vital financial step for anyone, no matter the income level. However, for those planning on bequeathing a significant amount of money or assets, it is best to ensure all documentation for a will or trust is in place and legally binding.

The death of a loved one can be complicated and emotionally challenging, even when there is not a large amount of money involved. However, wealthy Michigan residents may wish to consider several factors when estate planning. First, it is important to determine if it is best to use a will or a trust. There are legal differences between the two options; one of them being that a will is considered a probate case which typically becomes part of the public record, while a trust does not have to go through probate and will not be open to public record.

Act can help to save taxes for married couple with estate plan

A person may feel average in many areas of his or her life in Michigan. The individual might view his or her job, marriage and/or financial situation as being mediocre, so he or she doesn't see the point of going through the same type of estate planning that the "rich and famous" often pursue. However, an estate plan isn't important just for the super wealthy -- it's necessary for everyone who wishes to properly pass on assets to beneficiaries. A recent law enables married people to more easily minimize their tax burden when passing on their assets to others.

The law, called the American Taxpayer Relief Tax Act of 2012, has made it possible for widows and widowers to benefit from the estate tax exemption from a late spouse and add it to their own. This means that married individuals can transfer slightly over $5 million to each tax-free. The amount will go up to nearly $7 million in a decade and $9 million in two decades, in order to adjust for inflation.

Just when it seemed settled, new claim made on heiress's estate

The name Huguette Clark may be unfamiliar to many in Michigan -- or across the nation for that matter -- but in the arena of estate planning and administration the name doesn't seem to go away. The woman was a wealthy but reclusive copper heiress who passed away in 2011 at the age of 104.

For those that don't know her or her family's name, the estate disputes that have popped up after her death are a useful tool to understand what can happen during the administration of an estate -- and why someone might seek the assistance of an estate attorney for a reason other than making your own estate plans.

Steps to take during estate planning

Estate planning is a very important step to take to make sure your wishes are known and followed through after you have passed away. Creating an estate plan has many benefits, but many people fail to create an estate plan before it's too late. 

Having an estate plan can make it easier for your family to know how you want your assets divided as well as other decisions regarding your health and finances if you ever become incapacitated. Creating an estate plan doesn't have to be complicated but it is important to know what steps to take to ensure your documents are accurate and helpful for your family.

What should you include in your estate plan besides a will?

On our blog, we've discussed the importance of creating a will before it's too late. A will puts in writing who will take care of your minor children and who will get your assets in the event of your death. Having a will is very important. Depending on what you all want to include in your will, it is a relatively simple process to make one.

If you've been thinking about creating a will: good for you. Millions of Americans still don't have a will despite the benefits and protection they offer. Having a will is important but there are other considerations to make when thinking about or creating your estate plan.

Privacy Policy | Business Development Solutions by FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters business.

248-397-5507 | 888-349-0309